You work with your colleagues day in and day out, but how much do you really know about them? If your team is working remotely, weaving virtual icebreakers into your Zoom calls and online meetings is an ideal way to foster connections. Many organizations have several new hires who have never even met their colleagues in person. In this blog, we’ll investigate the reasons why virtual icebreakers are important and provide you with a few ideas on how to incorporate them…
Remote workers often feel isolated – virtual icebreakers can help them feel like part of the team.
When you work remotely, you miss out on chit-chat around the water cooler. Work in time to do this virtually and come prepared with some topics you can raise on your Zoom calls to spur conversation. Go “around the room” and ask what everyone is binge watching on TV at the moment. Look for a list of “bizarre” holidays and if your meeting happens to fall on National Ice Cream Day, for instance, ask everyone to share their favorite ice cream flavor.
When people play icebreakers for virtual meetings, they reveal their true selves, allowing the team to assess people’s strengths and who would be good at certain tasks.
Certain virtual games, such as a virtual escape room – our Escape The Arctic game makes a great (and literal) “ice”breaker – give everyone insight on who has great analytical skills, who thinks creatively to approach problems from a different angle, who takes charge of the group to ensure all are working together, etc. You might even find out who on your team is a huge movie buff or someone who loves rock and roll music! Icebreakers for virtual meetings can help a team bond more easily.
Ask people questions and they’ll feel “heard” and understood.
Research shows that the most fascinating person in the room isn’t the one who talks the most – it’s the one who asks the most questions. That’s because people love to talk about themselves! Our team once participated in a virtual icebreaker activity where we took a quiz to determine our communication styles prior to the Zoom call. Each “like” group met in breakout groups to discuss what we love, what are our pet peeves are, etc. We then got back together as a group to share key points our personality type all had in common. It was a big a-ha moment that helped us understand one another better. For instance, people learned that I need to ask a lot of questions, not because I question that what the team is saying isn’t correct, but because it’s necessary for me to collect data to make decisions!
People like working with people they like – virtual icebreakers can bring that feel-good factor to the team.
46% of job seekers cite company culture as very important when choosing to work for a company and 37% of employees say “working with a great team is their primary reason for staying! So, why wouldn’t you want to have fun with a virtual icebreaker? It could be something as simple as having everyone send a baby photograph to you prior to your Zoom call. Flash them up on the screen so people can guess whose is whose. Award points to the person who guesses the most correctly. At the end of the game, have everyone share what their favorite toy was when they were young. Or, consider hiring a vendor to run a virtual icebreaker activity for you, such as our Getting To Know You Game where players have to answer polling questions, choose if they’d prefer “this or that,” take photos and make videos. All the results are shared afterwards so people can learn more about one another.
Virtual icebreakers can help your business.
88% of employees believe a strong company culture is key to business success, so don’t think of virtual icebreakers as “frivolous.” Think of them as a good investment in your employees’ and in your company’s future! One fun icebreaker game you can play that applies to business is to have everyone come up with one outrageous, blue-sky idea that they would absolutely love to do to improve your business. After all the ideas are shared, challenge the team to vote on their favorite. Then, brainstorm how you can make the impossible possible. For instance, a city council did this with regards to how to get people to stop littering. One idea that came up was to pay people to throw their garbage away. They then brainstormed how this could be done without having to dole out cash. They came up with the idea of rigging garbage cans, so people could hear a joke when the lid was opened. The idea was implemented, and it encouraged people to throw rubbish away in the bins, so they could hear the jokes!